Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

THE FRANCHISE REFUSES TO SELF-DESTRUCT

2 Aug

600full-michelle-monaghan 1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation    Wknd/$ 56.0    Total/$ 56.0
2. Vacation/WB                                          Wknd/$ 14.9    Total/$ 21.2
3. Ant-Man/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 12.6    Total/$ 132.1
4. Minions/Universal                                Wknd/$ 12.2    Total/$ 287.4
5. Pixels/Sony                                             Wknd/$ 10.4    Total/$ 45.6
6. Trainwreck/Universal                           Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 79.7
7. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 7.5       Total/$ 31.6
8. Paper Towns/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 4.6       Total/$ 23.8
9. Inside Out/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 4.5       Total/$ 329.6
10. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 631.5

FIFTH VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation opens at number one and this may be the most solid entry in the franchise, even though it’s the fourth time in five movies Ethan Hunt is wanted by his own government. Seriously. In the first, he’s framed by his own boss for betraying and killing his whole team. In the third he’s framed by someone who’s kind of his boss for freeing an international arms dealer that he just caught. In the fourth, he’s framed for blowing up the Kremlin by a Russian general who thinks we need to just have a nuclear and get it over with and humanity will be the better for it. Here he’s not framed but considered a bit crazy because he believes in a super-secret terrorist organization called “The Syndicate” and is being hunted by the CIA which has also shut down the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and absorbed its people and operations. What’s funny is the way the CIA shuts them down is by pointing out all the crazy shit they’ve done from breaking into Langley in the first film and almost getting San Francisco nuked in the most recent film. So basically CIA Director Alec Baldwin is completely right in saying it’s an agency of chaos. Every film backs it up. Three out of the five films involve either current or ex members of the IMF being behind all the trouble. It reminds me of the scenes from Under Siege where they also question the logic behind employing crazy people and the CIA responds that sane people can’t do the jobs they need to be done. This would apply to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt who apparently can’t do anything the safe way. It’s actually joked about by the bad guy in MI2 and is briefly alluded to by a young agent at the beginning of this. But if he did things the smart and rational way, what fun would it be to watch? Yeah, he could have taken the two seconds it would taken to put on a motorcycle helmet from the downed bad guy whose bike he takes, but then wouldn’t get what is clearly Tom Cruise barreling down the highway at ridiculous speeds and crazy leaning angles. He’s basically embarrassing the shit out of every other action star working with their sane use of CGI and stunt doubles. But more than that, this is perhaps the best story since the first and I guess after having recycled it so many times the were bound to get it right simply by the law of averages. It’s not saddled with a love story like MI2 (which was basically a remake of Notorious but with guns and motorcycles), the underwhelming action scenes of MI3 (really, a fight with a drone?) or the dampening revelation in MI4 that the bad buy was a good decade senior to Cruise but had not only outfought but outrun him and almost does him in at the end (it was as bad as that wussy French dude giving Bond trouble at the climax of Quantum of Silence). It helps that they finally give him a badass female counterpart who does everything he does without mussing her hair (speaking of Bond, she’s British Secret Service). They give her the all-out action scenes that both Maggie Q and Paula Patton were denied, which is insult to injury given neither one of them was brought back (supposedly they were busy, but who are we kidding?), but all the guys but John Rhys Myers (who should have inherited the franchise had he not self-destructed) and the helicopter pilot from MI2 (whom no one remembers any) were.

IT’S NOTHING I’VE EVER WANTED (GO-GO’S REFERENCE)
Vacation opens at number two and I’ve never seen a single one of these movies and I wasn’t about to start now. I know the first has somehow gained a place of being a near semi-classic 80’s comedy, directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes at near the peak of their powers, but I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s just Chevy Chase, but…no, it’s just Chevy Chase. I love Caddyshack and Foul Play, but his very presence is basically a giant warning sign of a bad movie. And guess what? He makes an appearance in this, given this is supposed to be the adult son from the first movie trying to recreate the trip with his own kids (Anthony Michael Hall, you dodged a bullet). I’ve no choice but to stick to my strategy as it has served me well (I ignored it to Hot Tub Time Machine and paid the price). And why would anyone want to recreate that trip anyway? It was a disaster and they should have nothing but horrible, if not traumatic memories of it.

WONDER WOMAN AND BLACK PANTHER MOVIES CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH
Ant Man is down to number three and while it’s nothing but fun there’s a slight bitter taste for me because no one in the production seemed to notice that every single person of color from The Falcon, to Ant-Man’s crew (Michael Pena and TI—yes, TI), to the cop his ex-wife is dating (Bobby Cannavale) is the butt of a joke. Yes, there are jokes about everyone (it’s an action comedy) but everyone else has something else going on. Michael Douglas’ character was a superhero and still is a super-genius and sets everything in motion. Awkward expository dialogue tells us that Paul Rudd’s character went to prison because he attacked a corporation that hurt people, has a Master’s Degree in Engineering and also becomes a super-hero. Even the villain is a genius in his own right, but the Black and Latino characters are all just there to make you laugh. Now, I’m not saying that this was planned, I’m just saying that when it was all said and done no one noticed this. That’s a sad lack of racial sensitivity. It’s the equivalent of movies where all the guys are dreamers and the women are just wet blankets. Not that they get much of a break here either. There’s only one actually involved and while it’s explained that Michael Douglas won’t give his daughter (played by Evangeline Lilly) the suit even though she’s more than capable than Paul Rudd and is already on the inside, because he doesn’t want to lose her the way he lost her mother (she joined Michael Douglas on his adventures), the movie doesn’t give her the motivation to just take the damn thing and do it. If they’re estranged, why is she being the obedient daughter now? The irony being, in the comic this is all based, that’s exactly how the character Paul Rudd is playing gets the suit! He’s not lured; he just takes it to try and save his daughter! We won’t even get in her “You know I’m a no nonsense woman” stupid haircut, because I’ve got friend going off on that somewhere else on the internet.

BUT IT SHOULD STICK TO ADAM SANDLER LIKE FUCKING GLUE
Minions is down to number four, followed Pixels at number five and also in this wreck is Michelle Monaghan (aka Lara Flynn Boyle 2.0), who was “The Young Hot Thing” a few years back, killing it in smaller movies like Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang with a pre-Iron Man Robert Downy Jr, before being bumped up to sharing the screen with Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his few leading man hits, The Source Code. After that she hit solid gold A-list as Tom Cruise’s kidnapped bride-to-be in Mission Impossible 3. But after that…things just seemed to slip away. The smaller films were mediocre and even movie a post-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr and post-Captain America Chris Evans went nowhere. Luckily she was in the highly acclaimed first season of True Detective. Well, lucky until this came out. Hopefully so few people will it see the stench won’t stay with her. You know, like how Zoe Kravitz was in After Earth with Will & Jaden Smith. If anyone had known she might not have had the summer she’s had with Mad Max: Fury Road and Dope.

THEY SHOULD BE FINED IT’S SUCH A WASTE
Trainwreck at number six and while I love Bill Hader and am glad he’s getting some movie success with this it’s still not enough to get me into this, mainly because why the fuck do you hire someone with Bill Hader’s talents and just make him the straight man!?! Anyone good looking meat puppet could have done this and honestly every dude playing a superhero would give a left nut to be in a hit where they aren’t in a costume. Getting Bill Hader to just play a nice, normal guy is like buying a Porsche and never taking it out of first gear. You gotta a redline or don’t bother!

I WOULDN’T SEE IT IF THAT’S ALL IT COST TO GET IN
Southpaw is down to number seven and your first clue this was going to be a mistake was the casting of 50 Cent who has never once made a successful film. Not. Once. Even though he’s made movies with everyone from Robert DeNiro to Bruce Willis. You’ve never heard of them because they went straight to home viewing. Even the movie where he plays himself in a story of his own life tanked. No wonder he’s filing for bankruptcy. Not really. He’s doing that to keep from getting sued of everything he owns because he’s a stupid, vindictive prick and finally going to pay for it.

ALSO: VOICE IN ANIMATED FILM
Paper Towns is down to number eight and starring here as the dream girl is current model-of-the-moment, Cara Delevingne and I hope this is a wonderfully sobering moment for the world at large, because the reason she can play a teenager is because like most models, she’s just a fucking kid. Yes, she’s 23, but in real world terms that would mean she graduated college just last year and high school just 5 years ago. How long have you seen her in stiletto heels and lingerie making come hither stares? Probably longer than that and it’s fucked up. Sorry, I’m still a little bitter over a story about 14-year-old model where the photo showed her in a translucent top. Yeah, she’s six-feet-tall, but that’s still a fucking 14-year-old and I should never ever have seen her nipples. Nor should the rest of the world. Okay, end of rant. I’ll say this for Carla Delevingne, her management is making sure to get her in on every hot movie trend to launch her acting career. This is an adaptation of a Young Adult novel and next year she’ll be in comic book movie: The Suicide Squad. All that’s missing is a “found footage” horror movie.

EXTINCT
Inside Out is down to number nine followed by Jurassic World closing out the top ten at number ten. Thank god. I was totally out of things to say about it.

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LET’S PICK ON JAKE GYLLENHAAL DAY!

27 Jul

jake 1. Ant-Man/Disney                     Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 106.1
2. Pixels/Sony                              Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.0
3. Minions/Universal                  Wknd/$ 22.1   Total/$ 261.6
4. Trainwreck/Universal            Wknd/$ 17.3    Total/$ 61.5
5. Southpaw/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 16.5    Total/$ 16.5
6. Paper Towns/Fox                    Wknd/$ 12.5    Total/$ 12.5
7. Inside Out/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 320.3
8. Jurassic World/Universal      Wknd/$ 6.9     Total/$ 623.8
9. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                     Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 85.7
10. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 80.6

SEAN CONNERY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Ant-Man holds at number one and also in this, obviously, is none other than Hollywood Royalty and multiple Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, who finally realized his leading man days were over and wisely hopped onto the Marvel money train. I know it seems obvious and easy, but judging by the Jason Stathams of the world who laugh at it and the Wesley Snipes who are trying to get into it despite having inadvertently launched it with Blade (they are 48 and 52, respectively) it’s not. In fact, Douglas was still trying to play the dude who could get women 18 to 80 up until ’09, in Solitary Man, where he played a guy who bangs his younger girlfriend’s daughter while escorting her to her freshman year of college. But even then he’d at least begun sowing the seeds of this because in the same year he played almost a parody of that role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, as the player uncle who taught Matthew McConughey’s character all he knew. This what I call “The Sean Connery Rule” wherein once you reach a certain age you have to bring in a hotter, younger actor to carry the weight. And even Connery didn’t always get it right. Lawrence Fishburne in Just Cause and Christian Slater in In the Name of the Rose didn’t do much for him. Neither did Mark Harmon in The Presidio. But those were wiped clean by Nicholas Cage in The Rock, Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun and even Lorraine Bracco in Medicine Man. So the commercial success of Ant-Man and the critical success of Behind the Candelabra more than wipes the slate clean of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Shia Lebouf. Not to mention the character he plays is part of the foundation of the Marvel Universe. In the comics he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, playing the role of not just Ant-Man but reversing the effect and becoming, Giant Man/Goliath and also Yellowjacket (who here is the villain). He’s also the actual creator of Ultron. Yes, the antagonist of the recent Avengers sequel. There’s an opening scene here that makes him part of the SHIELD braintrust alongside Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, so he’s also tied to both Iron Man and Captain America now. Pretty sure Douglas isn’t going to hesitate signing any multi-picture deals.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES AND SHITS HIMSELF
Pixels opens at number two to some of the most scathing reviews you’ll ever see and given this is Adam Sandler, that’s saying something. Like how much Skyfall sucks and like Bill Cosby being a piece of shit, this is something that I felt was obvious long ago but only now are others seemingly waking up to it. Adam Sandler has been a lazy-ass comedian from day one and the more money he makes the lazier he gets. Low-hanging fruit from day one, never trying harder. Only now when it has reached a toxic level do people finally seem to recognize this. This is based on a short film where video games come to life and attack NYC, pixelating everything they touch eventually taking the entire planet. The creator of that got a cool million, which is why the only thing he can say is “They could have done it better,” and even that may cost him. Honestly, this was done to perfection in an 8 minute sequence on Futurama years ago. That’s all anyone ever need see. Certainly not Adam Sandler’s, old, unfunny, rich, bored ass.

LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT OLD SINGLE GEEKS
Minions is down to number three, followed by Trainwreck at number four and I don’t care how many of my friends love it I’m not seeing this. Yes, it does say something that they are single women in NYC, but that two-hour running time remains bullshit.

OR IS IT ROCKY 6 THIS IS REMAKING?
SouthPaw opens at number four and I loves me some Rachel McAdams, but I’m not going to watch a movie where she dies in the first 15 minutes so I can watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle with it. It looks like cliché central in this thing and honestly, if I want to watch a white fantasy about boxing, I’ll watch Rocky. I mean, there’s a wizened, older black man there to guide him. What’s sad about this is that if Rachel McAdams had lived I’d probably have seen this remake of Rocky III to watch her do her Talia Shire impression. Jake Gyllenhaal is about to run out of both youth and chances soon. He simply has the worst taste in big mainstream films. Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Prisoners…all mainstream studio films and all crap. His indie work, however, End of Watch and Nightcrawler seems to be stellar (I burned out on indie long ago so I can only relay what I’ve heard), so it seems like he’s taking the big paychecks to pay for those. Well, those movies have to succeed, chief, and this seems like yet another disappointment headed your way. Time to get on that Marvel gravy train if you want to continue with your small work. But if you’re gonna do it, do it. Don’t pretend you want a big A-list movie with integrity then do Prisoners or Love & Other Drugs. Be honest and just do Transformers 5. No one will blame you.

NOT THAT I’M BITTER AND FILLED WITH SELF-LOATHING OR ANYTHING
Paper Towns opens at number six and it’s finally happened: I’m just too old for another brainy-geek-teen-in-love-with-exceptionally-pretty-girl story. Yes, this one is a tad different because the basic story is that she’s not some happy cheerleader, but a tad troubled and when she vanishes he goes looking for her. But still, he’s only looking for her because she’s pretty. That she’s portrayed by model-of-the-moment Carla Delevingne does not help. The only thing that could put me off more would be one of the Jenner sisters. Shame too, because you know they thought getting her would bring people in.

MAYBE IT’S A PLOT BY SPIELBERG TO MAKE SURE HIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST ONE
Inside Out is down to number seven followed by Jurassic World at number eight and this has made over a billion worldwide. Over $600M in the US and $900M overseas. This is great for Chris Pratt and Spielberg and Universal, but sad for anyone who wants good movies because this was an entertaining piece of crap. The kind of crap Jake Gyllenhaal needs to be a part of. Every legitimate piece of criticism now falls on deaf ears so you can expect the next one, already scheduled for 2018, to suck equally.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Mr. Holmes actually rises to number nine and this is how you do it, Jake. Not one, but two big franchises (Lord of the Rings and X-Men) which allows Ian McKellan to get funding for movies like these, which turn around and are unexpectedly more successful than anticipated. Probably a few award noms for McKellan coming down the pike as well. And apparently this is a universe where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and appears in movies. Yes, they include the Basil Rathbone series in the film. That alone makes it a guarantee that I will see it…eventually.

CONAN MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE
Finally, Terminator Genisys closes out the top ten at number ten and Arnold’s comeback has proven to be anything but. And this was the go-t0-no-way-it-could-fail-endorsed-by-James-Cameron-vehicle. Why did the equally bad Jurassic World succeed while this failed? Well, for one it has a simpler concept: monsters on the loose. Terminator movies have a simple one as well but they forgot it. It’s supposed to be unstoppable killing machine after someone, but they tried to get cute by merging John Connor with the machine and he’s honestly not trying to kill them. There’s another Terminator in the movie that is initially chasing them, but honestly I can’t tell you what happens to him. There’s even a third one and I can’t tell you what happens to her either (she’s played by Sandrine Holt…and not that I think about it, both the forgotten Terminators are Asian). It’s that bad. And Arnold once touched on the appeal of The Terminator himself: the machine does whatever it wants anywhere it wants. That never occurs here. He’s trying to blend in, so if you’re looking for him to kick the shit out of people much less a bunch of cops like he did in the three successful films look elsewhere. So clearly there’s an anti-establishment aspect to the character that they’ve overlooked…in addition to logic and proper casting.

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SO WONDERFULLY ADEQUATE!

20 Jul

Flash-Gordon-flash-gordon-poster 1. Ant-Man/Disney                    Wknd/$ 58.0    Total/$ 58.0
2. Minions/Universal                Wknd/$ 50.2    Total/$ 216.7
3. Trainwreck/Universal           Wknd/$ 30.2    Total/$ 30.2
5. Jurassic World/Universal    Wknd/$ 11.4     Total/$ 611.2
4. Inside Out/Disney                  Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 306.4
6. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 80.6
8. The Gallows/WB                     Wknd/$ 4.0     Total/$ 18.0
7. Magic Mike XXL/WB             Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 58.6
9. Ted 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 77.5
10. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                  Wknd/$ 2.5     Total/$ 2.5

DECENT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Ant-Man opens at number one and Marvel clearly has formula to make a superhero hit movie. The problem is the formula is getting a little stale and it’s not simply because it’s a matter of having seen it all before so much as their need now to control everything. The original writer/director of this was Edgar Wright and he started even before Iron Man was made, but in taking so long, an industry crept up around him and he was asked to conform to it and could not or would not. Can’t say as I fault him much. Having to use chunks of my movies to promote other movies would have annoyed me too. Both of the Thor movies sit at the bottom of my list of the Marvel work, because basically they seem to exist only to set up a later Marvel movie and are not films unto themselves (Iron Man 2 is the very bottom because it does that and it sucks). Captain America and Avengers Age of Ultron also suffer from this. But what’s oddly ironic is that, while clearly part of the Marvel movie universe, Ant-Man isn’t sacrificed for it, so Wright may have walked for no reason in the end beyond less creative control, which is still an issue because this needed a little more creativity. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a fun movie. Entertaining from start to finish. It’s just lacking that extra element to make it above merely competent. In a weird way, it’s almost a superhero remake of The Mark of Zorro with Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas with its wise mentor, estranged fiery daughter, and ex-con hero seeking redemption. Michael Douglas as we learn throughout the course of the film was the original Ant-Man, out being a superhero for SHIELD back in the day (where we see Iron Man’s dad and Captain America’s girlfriend, Peggy Carter) when personal tragedy forced him to quit and take his super-shrinking technology with him. Now his former assistant has figured it out on his own and wants to sell tiny superpowered soldiers to the world and is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. To stop him, Douglas tricks the fresh-out-of-prison cat burglar Paul Rudd into stealing the Ant-Man suit to test him, much to the annoyance of Douglas’ estranged daughter, Evangeline Lilly, who is pretending to be loyal to the former assistant, but wants to put it on herself and do the job. Aside from the by-the-numbers filmmaking a big problem her is the villain. Your hero can only be as good as he is and Corey Stoll lacks the weight of a Jeff Bridges (Iron Man) or a Hugo Weaving (Captain America) or even the voice of James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron). There’s supposed to be a type of father-son dynamic between Stoll and Douglas, but we only know because they tell us. They don’t give it any real depth. Similarly the estrangement between Douglas and his daughter is saucer deep and the revelation of the reasons behind it handled about as well as an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. There’s no reason he’s only telling her now with Paul Rudd around how her mother died a superhero in her own right and not previously in the 25 years beforehand. Especially when it relates to why they have to stop the bad guy. He could still refuse to let her wear the suit, which would more than justify the animosity. They were simply lazy about it. And that’s basically what this film is: fun but lazy in its execution. Rudd is the most charismatic lead they’ve had since Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and if they’d risen to meet him they would have had the best Marvel film since Iron Man, which I still regard as the best.

NOW YOU’RE LUCKY JUST TO HAVE HIM
Minions is down to number two and lending her voice to this is Sandra Bullock and like most A-listers who do animated films this is just for the fun of it. She doesn’t need it and can show it to her kid. As a matter of fact, most of the “name” voices are clearly just here for the fun of it, not needing any kind of cheap career boost. Okay, maybe when they were making it two years ago Michael Keaton might have needed it, but now he’s another legitimate star alongside Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Jon Hamm.

SOMEWHERE WHITNEY CUMMINGS IS WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED?
Trainwreck opens at number three and if you’ve doubted this is the “Summer of Women” at the movies, this should shut that door soundly. Not only does it put Amy Schumer firmly in the top echelon of comedy stars (she also wrote it), but it exceeded expectations. And don’t think there weren’t many hoping she’d fail as she has reached a saturation point. I can take or leave Amy Schumer. I think her stand up is good, marred only by her ventures into race (her bullshit non-apology “I’m a comedian so it’s okay” doesn’t help) and the show borders on brilliance at times, so I might have seen this…until I saw the 2-hour running time. What. The. Fuck? This is not a 2-hour concept. Party girl meets boy, party girl loses boy and party girl gets boy back is a 90-minute concept at best and a cast filled with pretty much everyone with a day off still doesn’t give me faith that they fill it the way they managed to do with 40-Year-Old Virgin. Unfortunately Judd Apatow is the director and he’s got a problem cutting himself. All his movies are too long but he’s now too powerful for anyone to make him do it. I suspect some needless maudlin melodrama that has no place in a movie about a guy with a giant dick.

NO CRAP MOVIE BUT WHAT YOU MAKE
Inside Out is down to number four, followed by Jurassic World at number five and Terminator Genisys at number six and rounding out the bad performances in this is Jason Clarke giving the worst John Connor portrayal ever. Granted the crappy script gave him nothing to work with, but if you’d been burdened from birth with the knowledge you’d save all humanity, you might at least show a little wear and tear on your soul. As the trailers give away, John Connor is possessed by Skynet, making him into a “terminator” in his own right. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds and you just know they thought they were being clever, but if Skynet could do this, why wasn’t it doing it all along to all the humans? Why build detectable machines, when you can possess undetectable humans? Also the script ignores that John Connor doesn’t want to kill his parents, but wants them to join him, which means he’s in there somewhere and isn’t just a machine. A better movie would have explored the idea that Skynet may have him, but he also has Skynet. But this is not a better movie.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR SELF HATRED
Magic Mike XXL is down to number seven and adding the aforementioned minority quotient to the movie are Jada Pinkett, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen “Twitch” Boss who, like Channing Tatum has a “Step Up” movie or two under his belt. Jada Pinkett plays the ex-girlfriend and ex-boss of Channing Tatum who runs her own strip club, though it’s more of a house women come to. Boss, Strahan and Donald Glover all work there. Granted Strahan has the body, but seriously? We couldn’t find anyone better looking? I know for a fact Shemar Moore ain’t that busy and Will Smith could a have used a hit, so maybe Jada should have brought him along. And I’m sorry but, Donald Glover? He looks like Stripper Smurf next to all the others and no woman is paying for that. You pay for the fantasy you can’t have, not the geek you can have anytime he comes up from IT to fix your computer. No, I’m not projecting my own self-loathing! Why do you ask!?!

THE DEFINITION OF TRIVIA(L)
The Gallows is down to number eight and also in this is the daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford….Yeah, I still don’t care.

FLASH! NO-OOOOOO!
Ted 2 is down to number nine and once again Sam Jones returns because of Seth McFarland’s love of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Okay, now we have to put an end once and for all that this was a good movie that was simply misunderstood for being campy when Star Wars and Star Trek were being serious. It’s. Just. Bad. Even as a camp film it fails. Just because you’re campy doesn’t mean you still don’t have a responsibility to tell the story as if it were straight. It was directed by Lorenzo Semple Jr who to no surprise directed the 1966 Batman TV show. Like many directors, the limitations of television worked for him in a way the freedom of film did not. Not to mention he had Dino DeLaurentis to deal with and it’s typical of Europeans to insist that fantastic concepts cannot be taken seriously (the producers of Superman tried to make that campy all the way down to having Superman grab Telly Savalas because he mistakes him for Lex Luthor). So that’s two strikes with the third being a flat out untalented lead actor in Sam Jones. The best things about it were Max Van Sydow as Ming, Ornella Muti as Princess Aura and of course that amazing Queen soundtrack. Otherwise it’s crap and we need to stop seeing it through the easily impressed eyes of an 8-year-old who knows no better. There’s a six minute edited version of the movie on YouTube whose brevity not improves the movie immeasurably, it also shows how much it sucks by how much can be cut without being missed.

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR…UH, WHAT WAS YOUR NAME AGAIN?
Mr. Holmes closes out the top ten and yes, this is about Sherlock Holmes in the twilight of his years, Watson long dead, trying to solve a case as his mental facilities deteriorate. Ian McKellan plays Holmes and while I’d love to see it, honestly I’m two seasons behind on both Sherlock Holmes series (Elementary and Sherlock) that I was watching, so this will have to get in line.

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FOOL ME THRICE AND I’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE

13 Jul

emilia-clarke-gq-apr-pr-photo-shoot-843592646 1. Minions/Universal                    Wknd/$ 115.2   Total/$ 115.2
2. Jurassic World/Universal       Wknd/$ 18.1     Total/$ 590.6
3. Inside Out/Disney                     Wknd/$ 17.1     Total/$ 283.6
4. Terminator: Genisys/Par        Wknd/$ 13.7     Total/$ 68.7
5. The Gallows/WB                       Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 10.0
6. Magic Mike XXL/WB               Wknd/$ 9.6      Total/$ 48.4
7. Ted 2/Universal                         Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 71.6
8. Self/Less/Focus                         Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 5.4
9. Baahuball: The Beginning       Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 3.6
10. Max/WB                                    Wknd/$ 3.4      Total/$ 33.7

FOR I AM A CABLE WHORE
The Minons take the number one spot, which should come as no surprise to anyone as they were the only things about the Despicable Me movies worth watching. Ironically, I opted not to see this because I’d been tricked into seeing those mediocre films because of The Minions and am still a little pissed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Well, then this should be perfect for you, right? You know, like The Penguins of Madagascar, which you did see?” WRONG! Too little, too late! And The Penguins always had a dark, funny edge that The Minions never did. Not to mention Madagascar 3 is great, so my experience with Madagascar was 50% (I have not, nor will I ever see the number two). My experience with The Minions, however, has been 100% movies I regret wasting my time on. It wasn’t going to happen again…at least until it’s on cable in a year. I’ll watch damn near anything on cable…except Madagascar 2.

THE DINOSAURS REPRESENT THE PENIS…
Jurassic World is down to number two and in an otherwise enjoyable, bad movie there’s a particularly brutal an innocuous female character which means the actress either turned down the producer or the director for a date or one of them was dumped just before the film was made. Seriously, you can’t pretend people don’t die for reasons in a monster movie. It’s usually always for a point. Either a pretense at randomness to prove that no one is safe, even the innocent—which is bullshit because there always are safe and the “innocent” who dies was only there for that reason—or heroic sacrifice or most often as punishment. In Jurassic Park the lawyer, Newman and even the big game hunter are punished for cowardice, avarice and arrogance, respectively (Samuel J. Jackson’s character doesn’t count because his death was offscreen). Similarly in The Lost World the poor driver dies horribly in the while saving them in a very faux “random” way to make you think no one is safe when you know there’s no fucking way in the world Jeff Goldblum or his daughter are going to die. After that it’s straight up punishment left and right for avarice and arrogance. Here, the CEO dies for his arrogance and the bad guy for his avarice, while you know the children won’t be touched and Chris Pratt and Byrce Dallas Howard have to survive to kiss at the end. You could say the her assistant died to show that no one was safe, but unlike the driver in Lost World, she wasn’t onscreen enough to become attached to even though it’s hinted she’s the only friend Bryce Dallas Howard had (not that she shows the slightest concern for her missing assistant). Nor is she doing a good deed for a touch of ironic cruelty. The longest, ugliest death in the Jurassic Park franchise for no real reason…unless you go back to last week’s theory that this movie is self-satirical and the scene was mocking the whole “no one is safe” conceit. Nah, some dickweed just didn’t get any and vented it onscreen.

LIKE A MAN!
Inside Out is down to number three and I’m just counting the days until I can buy this fucker and cry freely in my own home.

IT ALSO MAKES HER RELATIONSHIP WITH KYLE REESE LOOK CREEPY
Terminator: Genisys is down to four and while Jurassic World is fun bad, this is just bad-bad. Even Terminator: Salvation had one action sequence worth watching. This doesn’t even have that. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so Emilia Clarke is more or less new to me and to my eye I’m watching the teen adventures of Sara Connor. I know she’s an adult, but she looks 15 and I can’t believe no one thought this might not be a problem. Not to mention after being attacked by a Terminator and being informed there was a holocaust coming, Sarah Connor turned herself into a lean, mean fighting machine by the time Terminator 2 rolled around. Here, Sarah’s known since she was a child what was coming and doesn’t look like she could manage push up. There’s not even a cheap thrill watching a beautiful woman with a big gun because you’re just wondering how she could even pick it up.

DAD COULDN’T TEACH HIM CHEMISTRY, BUT AT LEAST HE’S ALIVE
The Gallows opens at number five and given how often found footage horror films basically turn a profit in the their opening weekend it’s no surprise they keep trying, but hopefully this will fail miserably by their blatant attempt to start a franchise. Jason, Freddy and Michael were not planned horror franchises. You can’t “make” that happen, but greed isn’t listening so here you have them trying to create a franchise around “Charlie” a ghost who hangs people at the high school. Yeah, see things that are really scary can’t be avoided simply by home schooling.

IF I WERE A STRIPPER MY STAGE NAME WOULD BE WILLIAM E. GOAT
Magic Mike XXL is surprisingly down to number six which makes me think it’s suffering from whatever made Mad Max: Thunder Road underperform. And by that I mean out-of-shape dudes with small dicks. I mean granted, it only cost $15M to make and has already tripled that, but first made almost that much its opening weekend and made over $100M domestically which is the money that matters. What really makes this surprising is that they’ve clearly gone out of their way to open up the audience. And by that I mean, black people. Seriously, the movie basically stops to show you that there are also bruthas stripping for sistas. In an odd way it’s brutally honestly about the segregation that exists in certain areas, specifically sexuality. A bunch blonde sorority girls probably don’t want to see Julian St. Jox swinging his dick onstage (are you old enough to get that Eddie Murphy joke) or the management assumes they don’t. Either way everyone knows there are black strip clubs and white strip clubs and while there may be a sista or two in a white club, the male equivalent rarely happens. At best, like the first movie showed, you’ll get a Latin lover. I’m not even sure where Asian women go, but if there’s a third (an international competition, Magic Mike: World Cup and I’ve copywritten that idea) maybe we’ll get guy whose stage name is…Long Dong. You know you want it!

NEW AGENT…OR MANAGER…OR BOTH
Speaking of underperforming sequels, Ted 2 is down to number seven and all these superhero franchises running around and this is where Morgan Freeman is picking up easy paychecks!?! Bear in mind (no pun intended) he turned down the brilliant joke in This Is The End where when all the characters die and go to heaven, he’s God and has been all along. Wouldn’t do that, but did this. And of the two big budget science fiction movies Tom Cruise made in two years (Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow), he was in the bad one (Oblivion).

EVEN THAT TV SHOW WITH THE PIZZA PLACE WAS AWFUL
Self/Less opens at number eight and when are people going to realize that Ryan Reynolds cannot carry a movie? It’s funny to think he and Bradley Cooper were not only up for the same roles at one point but were going to make a movie together. Now he’s the anti-Bradley Cooper. No Oscar nomination and no hits. What’s funny—and by that I mean sad—is that he’s talking about how he’s not going to do another superhero movie after Deadpool. Like a) he’s done a single good one and b) that’s gonna be some kind of massive hit that he’s even going to have a choice. Bear in mind this was done at the same time Hugh Jackman was announcing he’s done playing Wolverine after the next film. You know, another success story with Oscar nominations. Time to face it dude: you peaked cinematically at Van Wilder.

DESI MYSTERY
Baahubali: The Beginning opens at number nine with an almost 3-hour running time. What is it about? Who knows? It’s so under the radar IMDB only has nine films on it’s Top Ten Weekend Box Office as a result. Judging by the name one can take an educated guess that another one of those Indian films that pops up from time to time. I care only a little more than IMDB, but not enough to even look it up.

BECAUSE I CAN RELATE EVERYTHING TO A COMIC BOOK
Finally, Max closes out the top ten at number ten and this is from writer/director Boaz Yakin whose resume as a writer includes movies like Prince of Persia, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, The Punisher and the surprise hit Now You See Me (the one about the magicians who steal money). As a director it’s stuff like Remember The Titans, Uptown Girls and Safe with Jason Statham (which I actually think was one of Statham’s better films). As you can see it’s basically a mid-level director. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when indie was hot and he debuted with Fresh. But it makes me happy that he never got to do the Batman Beyond movie, which would have been based on the animated series. It’s set in a future where Bruce Wayne is too old, so recruits a kid to take over for him. Where’s Dick Grayson? Well, he left to find his own way and give Bruce boned Barbara Gordon after that you can be sure he wasn’t coming back. Barbara later went on to become a cop and is now commissioner and doesn’t like a new Batman, because apparently she doesn’t understand irony. Yeah, it’s best this guy not be trying to translate that to the big screen.

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SIX PACK ABS: THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM

6 Jul

joe-manganiello-435 1. Jurassic World/Universal                     Wknd/$ 30.9    Total/$ 558.1
2. Inside Out/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 30.1    Total/$ 246.2
3. Terminator: Genisys/Par                      Wknd/$ 28.7    Total/$ 44.2
4. Magic Mike XXL/WB                            Wknd/$ 11.6      Total/$ 26.7
5. Ted 2/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 58.3
6. Max/WB                                                   Wknd/$ 6.6       Total/$ 25.3
7. Spy/Fox                                                    Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 97.9
8. San Andreas/WB                                    Wknd/$ 3.0       Total/$ 147.4
9. Me an Earl and the Dying Girl/FS      Wknd/$ 1.3        Total/$ 4.0
10. Dope/ORF                                              Wknd/$ 1.1        Total/$ 14.1

SPOILER ALERT FOR GEEK FAN THEORY
Jurassic World holds at number one and there’s a fun fan theory floating around out there is that the movie is actually a satire upon itself. It’s a needless sequel and the movie is about the needless creation of a new dinosaur. According to the theory, the movie studio being represented by the new owner of the park who wants something bigger and better than real dinosaurs, so like the makers of the film BD Wong (back for the first time since the first movie) has to make up a new one and like this movie it turns out to be a mistake. Dallas Bryce Howard tries to get corporate tie-ins to help pay for the new dinosaurs, much in the way corporate tie-ins help pay for this new movie. The cherry on top of this theory is in the end—-SPOILER ALERT—the dinosaurs that made the first film so great, the Tyrannosaurus Rex (yes, the same one from Jurassic Park) and the Veceliraptor team up and kick its ass, which is basically them showing how the first movies were better than this sequel. Bear in mind the director flat out told Spielberg that the original script he was given sucked and his name is on this one. Hmmmm…

MAYBE I WAS TOO BORING TO HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Inside Out holds at number two and like the better Pixar films there’s an entire subtext about the death of youth that exists in this film. From Toy Story’s aging of Andy to Nemo going off on his own, the poignancy at the center is the departure from childhood and if Toy Story had you crying, you are not prepared for the fate of Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong (voiced by a perfectly cast Richard Kind). It made me realize I have no memory of an imaginary friend, which is shocking given how much immaturity I’ve successfully held onto.

HE SHOULDN’T HAVE COME BACK
Terminator Genisys opens at number three and don’t worry Terminator: Salvation you’re still the worst Terminator film. Apparently the key is whether or not you have a charisma-free Australian actor as your co-male lead. Just as Terminator: Salvation had the bland lump of meat Sam Worthington whose brief career success remains a mystery, this has the even blander Jai Courtney, whose continued career in A-list action films remains a mystery. If there’s been any one constant in better Terminator films it’s been the intensity of the human characters. They truly act like high-strung individuals traumatized by the burden of having to try and save the world from the nightmare threat of annihilation by the machines. Michael Beihn’s Kyle Reese from the first film, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in the second and yes, even Nick Stahl as John Connor in the third. Christian Bale can’t help but be intense no matter what he does, but Sam Worthington sucked it all away in his charisma-free black hole. Here, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor are reunited for the first time since the first film (the deleted scene of a dream Sarah has where Kyle comes to her in T2 sadly does not count) and they don’t look so much like two people haunted by the belief that they are all that stands between humanity and annihilation so much as a couple slightly irritated by the fact the movie they wanted to see at the mall has been sold out. Here, Sarah was attacked at the age of 9 by the liquid metal T-1000 Terminator and basically raised for the last decade by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. Who sent them both back so early? You’ll never know which is one of massive fail of this film. You’re not supposed to leave more questions than answers. But the larger issue remains the lack of bleak intensity. There’s even a tension free countdown. You can see it going wrong from the beginning where John and Kyle are exchanging wisecracks. None of this was possible in the nightmare future of James Cameron’s two films. Reese was an already traumatized war vet merely in his 20’s. None of that is to be found here. Similarly in the 12 years between Terminator 1 and 2 Sarah Connor becomes a slightly unhinged war machine. But her parents being murdered and a lifetime of being raised by a killing machine to save the future affects no such change on Sarah here. Yeah, she barks orders and fires all manner of weapons, but it’s as much movie artifice as it is every time they give a model a gun in a movie and tell you she’s a seasoned secret agent (it doesn’t help that the actress they cast looks 16 and seems to have foregone the physical transformation Linda Hamilton made). Poor casting aside, the plot is as dumb as Terminator: Salvation with lip service being paid to the mechanics and consequences of time travel. Not that I expected Neil Degasse Tyson so show up and break it down, but don’t insult me either. Its sole saving grace is Arnold as an aging machine, which in the hands of a talented filmmaker would have been a metaphor for his own career, but here is picked up and dropped off as the plot demands.

THE “A” IN USA IS FOR “ABS”
Magic Mike XXL opens at number four and where the original was basically an indie film that took the life of a Tampa stripper trying to get out seriously, with its depiction of a life on the sleazier side with a host of slightly damaged people in the world of sex work, this is basically a road comedy like anything Hope & Crosby ever did. Basically Mike is lured out of retirement by dissatisfaction with his new legit life (and broken relationship) for one last ride with the old crew to a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach with an assortment of hijinks along the way. Seriously, that’s it. And along the way we get a series of dance numbers. Hell, the only thing separating this from being a musical is that they don’t sing during them. Oh, wait. That happens twice. Basically, while the first one was a drama, this is basically a musical comedy. But a fun one. It’s also a lot gentler on its characters than the first. While they were all seemingly losers in the first, the promise of equity in a new club their salvation, here they know it’s the end and are making plans for it, all chasing their version of the American dream, be it a yogurt food truck that also has a DJ, acting or singing or selling condoms packaged along with mints. Even when they poke fun at them (the condom with mints idea is taken) it’s in a gentle fashion. When Matt Bomer speaks sincerely about how he worked at Disneyworld, apprenticing as a Donald Duck, the audience laughs, but no one laughs at him in the film because that is legitimate success. Even Joe Manganiello’s dick, which was just a one shot dirty joke in the first film (his character’s name is Big Dick Richie) is now the source of his unhappiness because no woman wants to have sex with him. Needless to say, that also gets taken care of along the way. Speaking of women, if the overall theme of the movie was appealing to women in the first, this is flat out fan service. Every act by every man in this movie is designed to make women happy, be she a frustrated housewife, a divorcee or just the cashier at a gas station (you’ll never hear the Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” the same again). The Men of Tampa are here to make you happy, ladies.

MY PET PEEVE ONCE AGAIN
Ted 2 is down to number five and gone from this is Mila Kunis to be replaced by Amanda Seyfried, which seems odd because wasn’t the first one about Mark Wahlberg growing up so he can marry his girlfriend? But let’s not kid ourselves. Even not having seen this movie, I know the real love story is between Marky Mark and the teddy bear. The women are clearly replaceable. Or not. This isn’t doing as well as the first. But it still annoys me that 40-something Wahlberg is getting women a decade younger as his love interests. Bear in mind she’d playing a lawyer so it would make sense she’d be a little older, no?

BOTH CAUGHT THE WEB OF A BIG SUMMER PAYCHECK
Max is down to number six, followed by Spy at number seven and San Andreas at number eight and what’s the connection between Max and San Andreas? Spider-Man! See, also in Max is Thomas Hayden Church and a decade ago both he and Paul Giamatti were hot off Sideways, Hayden Church with an actual Oscar nomination. Ironically both he Giamatti wound up as a villain in a poorly-reviewed, but technically successful Spider-Man movie. But while Giamatti is still appearing in A-list summer fare like San Andreas, Hayden Church is doing movies like this. Hey, remember when he was the dumb mechanic on Wings?

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY!?!
Me, Earl & The Dying Girl breaks the top ten and this is one of those indie films that critics and audiences love that I’ll always mean to see, but simply don’t find the time. Why? ‘Cause I’m doing shit like this for you people. That’s why!

AND NOW OUR “GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN KIDS!” MOMENT
Finally, Dope closes out the top ten at number ten and one thing I can really appreciate about this film is its love of 90’s R&B. Yeah, it’s more how it was the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, but it was also the last breath of R&B, which has surrendered to auto-tune and sampling. It was already giving into sampling in the 90’s but at least people were still singing. There was even resurgence in purely vocal groups…for as long as it lasted. But yeah the hip-hop was great too. It was the last time there was rap about anything more than thug life or popping bottles with models. You’d never hear a song today like The Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” which is all about not getting a girl. And she’s never called a bitch or a ho because of it. This simply doesn’t exist anymore, yet but those goddamn, ugly-ass 90’s fashions get to come back. Sigh.

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THE LACKLUSTER WEEKEND BEFORE THE 4TH

29 Jun

time 1. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 54.2  Total/$ 500.1
2. Inside Out/Disney                               Wknd/$ 52.1  Total/$ 184.9
3. Ted 2/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 33.0  Total/$ 33.0
4. Max/WB                                                Wknd/$ 12.2   Total/$ 12.2
5. Spy/Fox                                                  Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 88.4
6. San Andreas/WB                                 Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 141.9
7. Dope/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 11.8
8. Insidious 3/Focus                                Wknd/$ 2.0    Total/$ 49.8
9. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                  Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 147.1
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 452.4

AND SHE’S CHERYL ON ARCHER, WHICH IS EVERYTHING
Jurassic World holds the number one spot and for the second time this summer Judy Greer appears in a major release, but unlike Tomorrowland a) we actually see and hear her and b) this is a massive hit. Come to think of it, it actually works in her favor. She’s clearly part of a hit, while nowhere to be seen (literally) in a flop. And her show, Married, is coming back this summer and the guy who plays her husband has an Oscar for screenwriting. No, Judy’s not doing so bad after all.

THERE’S THEATER DUST FOR ALMOST EVERY PIXAR FILM
Inside Out holds at number two and because the movie is such a critical and financial success, the otherwise wonderful short before it is being overlooked. It’s called Lava and like the best Pixar work it comes from the emotions and experiences of the writer/director. In this case he was in Hawaii where he learned that a volcano in the ocean would eventually join with the other islands and upon learning they had names, he wondered if they knew they would one day be together. The result is a musical short about a volcano alone in the ocean singing a song of love, not knowing that under the wave another volcano hears him and hopes to join him. This is when theater dust got into my eyes. You shut up! There is such a thing as theater dust!

AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT
Ted 2 opens at number three and not being a fan of The Family Guy or Seth McFarlane at all, I didn’t see the first and obviously didn’t see this one. And yes, I do look down on you if you do like The Family Guy and did see both this and the first one. Can you blame me? Hard to believe it’s the biggest grossing R-rated film of all time. Why not just slap Mel Brooks across the face?

GOD BLESS SGT. WOOF WOOF AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Max opens at number four and apparently if you’re down about the ruling on gay marriage you can go see a heartwarming movie about a boy and the military dog that belonged to his brother who was killed in combat. I had to check to make sure this didn’t come from one of those Christian studios. Hell, it’s not even Disney. Clearly someone looked at the summer release schedule and saw a spot for an old-fashioned right wing family film where the heroes are male and military. Oo-rah!

THE MORE YOU KNOW (COMIC BOOK GEEK EDITION)
Spy is down to number five, followed by San Andreas at number six and here in a small role as a member of Dwayne Johnson’s rescue team is Colton Haynes and if you watch Arrow, you know that’s Roy Harper aka Arsenal. And he needed this given he was just written off the show. Now is the time when I drop some geek knowledge. In the comics Green Arrow was such a clone of Batman he not only had a mansion with a cave underneath it, but a ward who was his sidekick and also in yellow and red. He was called Speedy, which on the show is the nickname of Green Arrow’s sister (a character that doesn’t exist in the comics). In the 70’s to try and seem up to date, they made Speedy a junkie (which is why the girl Speedy on the show also briefly has a drug problem) and as comics tried to become more and more relevant strongly suggested he prostituted himself for drugs, which sadly makes perfect sense, especially when Green Arrow’s reaction to finding out his surrogate son was hooked on drugs was to throw him out into the streets (Batman of course threw this in his face when Arrow brought up the second Robin being killed). The final stage to make him seem tougher was to have him abandon being called Speedy and take up the name Arsenal, a man who used all kinds of weapons. There was a brief moment where he was Red Arrow, but it didn’t stick. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

HEY, DON’T TELL ME I DON’T KNOW SELF-HATRED WHEN I SEE IT. I’M HATING MYSELF EVEN FOR WRITING THIS!
Dope is down to number seven and also in this is Zoe Kravitz, aka Little Lisa Bonet clone (who actually has two films in the top ten given she’s in Mad Max: Fury Road). Seriously. That’s all I saw while watching this movie. Kinda like when you watch Kate Hudson. You don’t see her, only her mother. Unfortunately she is emblematic of a problem not just with this film but in far too many films that come from a black creative team: all the principal women all being light skinned. The girl he has a crush on (Zoe Kravitz), the girl he lusts for (model Chanel Iman) and even the lesbian best friend are all of a lighter hue. This is all the more glaring in light of the dark skin of the male lead. To make matters worse the closest thing to a genuine villain the film has is not just a light skinned black man, but Harvard educated no less! You’d think you were watching a Tyler Perry film. Except this is actually good (you know it’s not Spike Lee, because all the women aren’t evil bitches out to bring our hero down). It’s still a good movie and all the actors are good in their roles, but you can no more ignore the greater social implications of this than you can ignore how Ben Stiller would apparently rather die than kiss a woman onscreen who looks as Jewish as he does. Like Woody Allen before him, it’s shicksa heaven up there. Unless of course the woman in question is the butt of jokes. Then she’s as Jewish as can be. Sadly, projecting self-hatred onto women is yet another thing Black and Jews have in common.

R YOU READY FOR CONSEQUENCES FROM VIOLENCE (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Insidious Chapter 3 is down to number eight, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road at number nine and it still hasn’t made budget in the US which is not good. Granted, it’ll probably cross it over the long holiday weekend, but at this rate it’s not going to be into the black until well into home video (DVD, pay-per-view), ‘cause god knows there are no corporate tie-ins to help offset the costs. Even the $200M+ it’s made worldwide is a bit disappointing. Let me put it this way: Jurassic World has already made $1B worldwide with literally half of it coming being domestic. This will hurt future action films in two ways: 1) being about badass women and 2) having an unapologetic R rating. Dinosaurs eat people left and right in Jurassic World, but like previous editions it’s relatively bloodless making it good old-fashioned family fun. There’s almost no blood when a pregnant woman gets run over here and her stomach cut open to get the deformed child from her barely breathing body, but clearly that’s clearly too much for anyone under the age of 17 unaccompanied by a parent.

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE END
Speaking of underperforming, The Avengers: Age of Ultron—down to number ten this wee—has been getting similarly flack for not doing as well as the first. Well, duh. That’s the first rule of sequels: they usually cost more and make less. You’d think knowing this they’d try to cut back a little, but no, like all sequels this is bigger and more elaborate than the first. But now there’s the added element of building an entire universe, so this is packed to the gills because god forbid you just tell this story now and not set up the next four or five movies. That’s my only real complaint, but it’s been my complaint for almost every movie after Iron Man. Only Captain America II, Iron Man III and Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be interested in telling their stories first and foremost. Well, not my only complaint. That goddamn love story between The Hulk and The Black Widow remains a stinker and I think that should shoulder the blame.

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DOOOO, OOOH YOU? FEEL LIKE I DO?

22 Jun

alexandra-daddario-photoshoot-by-elisabeth-caren-2014-_3 1. Jurassic World/Universal                Wknd/$102.0    Total/$ 398.2
2. Inside Out/Disney                             Wknd/$ 91.1      Total/$ 91.1
3. Spy/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 10.5     Total/$ 74.4
4. San Andreas/WB                               Wknd/$ 8.2        Total/$ 132.2
5. Dope/ORF                                           Wknd/$ 6.0       Total/$ 6.0
6. Insidious 3/Focus                              Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 45.4
7. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                 Wknd/$ 3.3        Total/$ 177.5
8. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                Wknd/$ 2.8       Total/$ 143.6
9. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 2.7        Total/$ 451.0
10. Tomorrowland/Disney                   Wknd/$ 2.0       Total/$ 87.7

RIGHT BEHIND THE AMERICA VERSION OF GODZILLA AT 11:00
Jurassic World holds the number one spot and is like The Lost World in that you enjoy it the first time you see it, but the more you think about it the worse it gets. Bear in mind we were laughing and eye-rolling at it while we were watching, but the more you think about it the more this becomes one of the great-bad summer flicks that you will always be happy to see turning up on cable at 1:00 am. Also in this is Vince D’Onofrio who was just killing it as The Kingpin in the Daredevil series on Netflix. Here he’s the less complex but probably more fun bad guy who dies because he couldn’t resist gloating about his supposed victory in his questionable southern accent. I like to think the latter is most responsible. To give you a better sense of his character know that if they’d made this movie 30 years ago, Brian Dennehey would have played him. Yeah, now you get it.

NO, IT’S NOT HERMAN’S HEAD THE MOVIE
Inside Out opens at number two, but don’t let that fool you. This is the biggest original film (as opposed to sequels) opening in history, beating Avatar. It’s also for my money Pixar’s first adult film. Oh, it seems like it’s for kids with the animation and funny characters, but the themes about the workings of the mind and how sadness is as important an emotion as happiness is nothing any 6-year-old is going to understand. I mean the joke about how a hairy guy in San Francisco is a “bear” in the trailer should have told you that. Needless to say, only the adults were laughing when a character remarks how all the bad thoughts are were regulated to the subconscious (that there was a giant clown there was perfect). The plot is the thoughts and emotions of an 11-year-old girl upon her move from Minnesota to San Francisco and when it’s all said and done it’s about how her being angry, scared upset and depressed about it is actually okay. Various emotions are represented in her mind be separate figures. Joy was first and was followed by Sadness. Later followed Anger, Fear and Disgust. There is no greater genius in the world than casting Lewis Black as Anger. None. Okay, maybe Alec Baldwin, but that’s it. The other great moment of genius is that we don’t just stay in her mind, but go occasionally into the minds of her parents to see the same figures there as well. How you know it’s still kind of a kid’s film is that mom & dad don’t have a few more emotions as well. It’s a return to greatness for Pixar after some unnecessary sequels (Cars 2, Monster University) and one disappointing original (Brave). What makes them so successful is that their best work is rooted in an emotional component, be it the fascination of a director’s child with an aquarium (Finding Nemo) or the changes going on in a daughter (this one). That’s why as entertaining as films like Kung Fu Panda may be, they will never hold a candle to films like these.

THE ANTI-TRANSPORTER: GOING NOWHERE IS WHAT HE DOES BEST
Spy is down to number three and also in this is Jason “Don’t Bother Trying To Ruin My Career I’ll Do It Myself” Statham who needed this like he needed air. As you may know, Statham refuses to do movies that involve greens-creen, basically insuring he never will achieve the Action Hero A-list because you don’t get there without a big-budget science fiction movie. This is why I knew any rumors of him joining the Marvel Cinematic universe were just that. He’s too stupid to have said yes if asked. Much like Dwayne Johnson—whom he joined in the Fast & The Furious franchise—his fate is to support others because he cannot get out of his own way.

HERE’S WHERE I TALK ABOUT BOOBS
Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, San Andreas is down to number four and as his daughter in his is Alexandra Daddario who achieved a level of instant fame for showing her large, real breasts in the first installment of True Detective. The key word there is “real” because like a Rolex, no matter how nice a fake one may be, it will never carry the same weight as a real one. It’s actually perfect she’s his daughter because their physicality is very much a part of their success. I wonder if they bonded over how their wardrobes inevitably consisted of tight tank tops. And it makes sense she’d have a nice rack given Carla Gugino plays her mom and she’s got a nice rack too. Apparently, she played Matt Bomer’s girlfriend on White Collar as well and is probably appreciative of finally being “the pretty one” on-set for once, even if she has to take her shirt off to do it.

SADLY NO GREAT “WHAT THE FUCK” SPEECH
Dope opens at number five and this is basically Risky Business remade for the 21st Century, but that’s not a bad thing as it’s been remade well. Very well in fact, if not as stylistic. We have our senior trying to get into an Ivy league college (then Princeton, now Harvard), he’s distracted by lust (both are virgins), said lust leads to dealings with a criminal and a debt to be paid (there a pimp, here a drug dealer), at least two sidekicks (there boring, here more interesting), a college interview in the middle of the criminal activity (there a visit in the middle of a hooker party, here he’s actually part of it) and in the end there’s a monologue about their success (there internal, here his entrance essay) and a possible relationship with the girl they were chasing to being with (there a hooker, here a girl with college aspirations). One advantage is that Tom Cruise’s character actually lost his virginity, whereas, alas, here our hero gets vomited upon by a half-naked model (Chanel Iman), but his potential future love interest is a bit more stable (again, she’s a hooker). Like Risky Business it shows that film school training can work if you have a good script to work with. Techniques and style with no substance are what you get with Ridley Scott and his bastard stepchildren of everyone from Michael Bay to the hit-or-miss David Fincher. Not ot mention, writer/director Rick Famuyiwa manages to seamlessly integrate the vicious everyday violence of life in a gang-riddled neighborhood alongside a coming of age teen comedy. Imagine if Guido The Killer Pimp of Risky Business had actually behaved in the manner of a pimp onscreen, perpetrating the violence he only threatened.

BUT YOU CAN TELL BRETT RATNER TO GO FUCK HIMSELF
Insidious: Chapter 3 is down to number six, followed by Pitch Perfect 2 at number seven and Mad Max: Fury Road at number eight. The villain in this movie is Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, which is notable because he played the villain, Toecutter, who created Max in the first film by murdering Max’s wife and child. This is why it’s very important to be nice to your director, boys and girls. Just ask Jennifer Lopez who is basically the only cast member from Out of Sight never to work with Steven Soderbergh again and the one who needs him the most.

TRUTH: THE STIFFEST DRINK OF ALL
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number nine, followed by Tomorrowland at number ten and there’s this odd cult of apologists cropping up for this movie, saying the reason it was rejected was because it’s optimistic. Newsflash: looking backwards is not optimism. We call that nostalgia. It’s just not a good movie. Get over it.

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